UJA Federation of Greater Toronto Partnership: Bat Yam

UJA of Greater Toronto is partnered with Bat-Yam, the fastest growing Ethiopian-Israeli community in Israel. Despite its central location neigbouring Tel Aviv, Bat Yam is firmly placed in Israel’s social margins.  Nearly 45% of Bat Yam residents are immigrants from Ethiopia and the FSU.


70% live near or below the poverty line with more than half of men aged 18-64 unemployed. The most recent immigrants lack the basic language skills and education levels required to enroll in school. 40% of Ethiopian youth are categorized to be at-risk and of those students enrolled in school only 40% pass their general matriculation exams.


With a minimal industrial or commercial base, Bat Yam is dependent on government funding and municipal taxes. Government support is based on the number of enrolled students, with no allowance for the city’s socio-economic situation. As a result, the education system is chronically under-funded.  Compounding this problem is the fact that few parents can afford to pay for additional tutoring or extra-curricular activities. Many struggle to pay for their children’s school books and class trips.


UJA of Greater Toronto believes that the successful integration of Ethiopian Jews into Israeli society is of paramount importance for the future economic and social resilience of Israel.

  • Israel Engagement

    The Partnership strengthens the relationship between Bat Yam and Toronto, enhancing Jewish identity and connections to Israel in young Torontonians. Each year over 1,000 Canadians visit and volunteer in Bat Yam.

    The majority of visitors arrive on organized programs (including Taglit-Birthright Israel, Onward Israel and Young Judea), through UJA Federation and Canada Israel Experience. These immersive experiences deepen commitment to Israel and improve leadership skills.

STEM Education

(Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

The Toronto Bat Yam Partnership is focused on providing top quality, state-of-the-art science and math education. This initiative was based on startling statistics that show how Israel is regressing from a “start-up nation” to a “slow down nation”.  


The development of STEM education has been identified as a highly effective means of promoting social and economic advancement. The initiative aims to significantly increase the number of pupils who choose to major in science and technology.


Flagship STEM programs include:

  • Promoting STEM Education Excellence

    This initiative provides science programming to elementary schools. The aim is to get young students excited about science at a young age and to help nurture Israel’s next generation of scientists, engineers and hi-tech entrepreneurs. Nearly 100 students, including 50 Ethiopians, are enrolled in this ongoing program which involves five hours a week of workshops, laboratory work and independent research.

  • Cracking the Glass Ceiling

    This program encourages girls from underprivileged backgrounds to choose a career in a STEM field. The five-year program includes extra tutoring, group coaching (setting goals, encouraging ambition) and meetings with female STEM professionals who serve as role models for participants. Each school is “adopted” by a leading high-tech company that, with the students, explores the various career paths available to them.

  • Cross Lab Network (XLN) Centre

    Established by the Reut Foundation as part of a national network of community technology centers, the Cross Lab Network is establishing Israel as a world leader in the self-manufacturing revolution by pioneering technological innovation. Each centre offers free instruction and is equipped with computers and 3D printers, enabling users to produce individualized products. Most users of the technology centers are young entrepreneurs and high school or college students.

  • Nurses Training Program

    Developed in conjunction with the Ministries of Education and Health, this innovative nursing program for young adults of Ethiopian origin takes place at Wolfson Hospital (Holon). Students are given generous financial assistance. The first cohort has 35 male and female students aged 21 to 42. The program is addressing the severe shortage of nursing staff in Israeli hospitals and also giving Ethiopian immigrants opportunities to work within a respectable and secure profession.